[Beowulf] cluster deployment and config management

Arif Ali mail at arif-ali.co.uk
Tue Sep 5 08:31:00 PDT 2017

>>> Interesting.  Ansible has come up a few times.
>>> Our largest cluster is 2000 KNL nodes and we are looking towards 10k...
>>> so it needs to scale well :)
>> We went with ansible at the end of 2015 until we hit a road block with
>> it not using a client daemon a fat ferew months. When having a few 1000
>> states to perform on each client, the lag for initiating the next state
>> centrally from the server was quite noticeable - in the end a single run
>> took more than half an hour without any changes (for a single host!).
>> After that we re-evaluated with salt stack being the outcome scaling
>> well enough for our O(2500) clients.
> +1 for SaltStack here. It really performs very well on large
> infrastructure (from doc.
> https://docs.saltstack.com/en/latest/topics/tutorials/intro_scale.html
> ) and allows complex rules with reactors and orchestrators (including
> some ways to manage post-reboot/connections).
Very Interesting, as we have been deploying clusters using SaltStack
too, and has played very well for us. We haven't toyed with reactors or
orchestrators yet, but that's probably the next phase for us.

I have looked at Ansible a couple of years back, and we then went the
SaltStack route, after doing some internal testing
> There is also a github project which allows to deploy a cluster from
> scratch with SaltStack, on a CentOS base, with PXE, dhcp, dns,
> kickstart... :
> https://github.com/oxedions/banquise/
Interesting project, for provisioning setup using Salt ;). We use xCAT
to do our provisioning side, and then let SaltStack take over after
that. We have internally developed a xCAT external pillar, that allows
us to use the xCAT information in SaltStack to do various things.

We heavily utilise Salt formulas, and developed home grown formulas too,
specifically for HPC type installations.

It's refreshing to see that there are other people in the community,
that are using SaltStack to do their HPC configurations/installations


Arif Ali

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